Gastronomically Terrific

September 29, 2014

Chocolate and ginger banoffee pie

Filed under: pudding — Tags: , , , , — lawsonanna @ 9:08 pm

Wanting to make a relatively easy-effort dessert for when my parents were here, I thought a banoffee pie might be a good choice. Now, the recipe I have lying around incorporates a ginger caramel syrup into the pie. I wouldn’t necessarily normally choose this, but I know my mum loves ginger, so I thought I’d give it a go.Basically you just add ginger conserve to the condensed milk for the caramel layer.

Other than this, the other elements of the pie are no different to a standard banoffee pie – you make a biscuit base with melted butter, add the caramel layer, add chopped banana, then whip double cream and layer this over the top. Finally, you melt some dark chocolate and drizzle this over the cream (obviously that stage isn’t compulsory, but I think it looks – and tastes- better with it. I would; it’s chocolate). All pretty easy and overall, it took me about half an hour to put together. Simple, looks fairly impressive and tastes good.

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: The Co-Op food magazine

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September 28, 2014

Chocolate chip cookies

Filed under: biscuits — Tags: , , — lawsonanna @ 9:03 pm

After the baking extravaganza that was my son’s 2nd birthday, I did have a bit of a break. I started baking again when I knew my parents were coming to stay for a few days whilst hubby was away at a conference. The first thing I decided to make were these chocolate chip cookies- the September recipe from my Home Baking 2014 calendar.

Nice and easy to make, it’s a fairly standard dough with brazil nuts and dark chocolate chips stirred in at the end. As normal, I left out the brazil nuts and just added the chocolate. The entire bake took about half an hour, and the end result were some tasty, very chocolatey cookies. Hubby (who tried a couple before he left) felt that they were a little too chocolatey, but I informed him there’s no such thing.

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Home Baking Calendar 2014, September recipe

September 27, 2014

Annabel’s no-bake train cake

Filed under: biscuits, Cake, party — Tags: , , , , , — lawsonanna @ 8:49 pm
The evening before...

The evening before…

And so, the piece de resistance – a birthday cake that a 2-year old will love. As the title suggests, this cake actually required very little baking. This was a choice I made for two reasons; I recently made a work-intensive cake (see my baby in a pram party cake), and as I have already mentioned, my son isn’t a huge cake lover. What he does love, however, are chocolate fingers and biscuits. And trains. He really, really loves trains. That made this cake the perfect choice for him and me.

The idea behind this cake is that you buy a whole load of food that you wouldn’t normally let your child eat (chocolate fingers, chocolate swiss rolls, sweeties, jammy dodgers, chocolate Matchmakers etc), that put them together in order to form the shape of a train. It actually works really, really well – and took less than an hour to do, which I wasn’t expecting at all. We’d given ourselves a whole evening to put it together. The only things I did make were some chocolate buttercream (so that the sweeties and biscuits stuck on to the carriages), and I melted some chocolate to coat the engine. The latter wouldn’t have been necessary if we’d bought chocolate-coated swiss rolls, but we hadn’t.

... And the evening after

… And the evening after

The reaction from our son, and other guests alike, was totally worth it. Everybody was impressed beyond the effort that had gone in to creating the cake. Plus, you can make the train any length you like, meaning it can feed as many – or as few- guests as you want it to. Needless to say, we made way too much.

Who made it: Anna and Dan

Recipe: Annabel Karmel’s Complete Family Meal Planner, pg. 164-5

September 25, 2014

Gingerbread Ted

Filed under: biscuits, party — Tags: , , , — lawsonanna @ 8:40 pm

23 Gingerbread manAnd so, on to the sweet dishes for my son’s 2nd birthday party. First up was some gingerbread men. Now, I have made gingerbread men before – but I don’t do it that often, so had to follow a recipe. Whilst making gingerbread men isn’t too complicated, the dough isn’t the simplest to make, and of course you then have to (well, you can) decorate the men. The dough requires additional spices to make it taste of ginger – in this case I used ground ginger, ground cinnamon and ground cloves – which seemed to work!

The recipe books suggested that you use white fondant icing to cover the gingerbread men before decorating them with Smarties for buttons and writing icing for their mouth and eyes. I thought this might be overkill (especially considering all the other sweet things that would be on offer), so chose to just add Smarties and the writing icing. It seemed to work, and I was actually quite proud of these men. I made a lot, so there were a fair few left over – but they seemed to disappear pretty quickly in the following week when taking them to friend’s houses!

 Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Hats and Bells Children’s Party Cookbook, Hatty Stead and Annabel Waley-Cohen, pg. 28-9

September 24, 2014

Cheesy farmyard friends

Filed under: biscuits, canape, party — Tags: , — lawsonanna @ 8:33 pm

Another new savoury dish, these are basically cheesy biscuits – and they’re really, really easy to make. They’re just a dough made from Cheddar cheese, self-raising flour and butter. The recipe also calls for Parmesan, but I didn’t have any, so I just used a little extra Cheddar. Basically you make a dough, roll it out and cut out animal shapes (or whatever shapes you like), then bake them for 10 (ish) minutes.

The end result does, of course, depend upon how good your cutters are. Mine came out OK, but some were better than others. The cats, for example, looked great. The pigs were a little harder to identify. But if you what you’re after is a cheesy biscuit, then you can’t really go wrong with these. There weren’t any left at the end of the party (hence the lack of a photo), and there was a lot more food than was needed!

Who made it: Anna
Recipe: Hats and Bells Children’s Party Cookbook, pg. 46-7

September 23, 2014

Rooster’s roulade

Filed under: lunch, meat, party, vegetarian — Tags: , , , , , — lawsonanna @ 8:17 pm
Happy 2nd birthday! Some of the party food - Rooster's Roulade are in the foreground

Happy 2nd birthday! Some of the party food – Rooster’s Roulade are in the foreground

OK, so now on to the big event – my son’s 2nd birthday. I made a lot of things for his birthday party (salmon footballs, cheese and peanut bites, apple cake etc), but many of these I have made before, so they’re not really new or exciting recipes to me. They were just things I knew would keep my guests – whether 2 or 32 – happy. I’m not going to write about those things here; instead, I’m going to focus on the items I made that were new to me. Many of these came from the Children’s Party Cook Book – a fairly recent acquisition that I ended up getting after buying it for a friend as a birthday present and deciding I wanted my own copy!

The first new thing I made were these ‘Rooster’s Roulade’ baguette-type bites. Basically a variation on your standard sandwich, they were pretty tasty and can be made in advance (always a bonus when preparing lots of things for a party). The concept is pretty simple – you get a baguette, cut off the ends, then hollow out the middle leaving a 1.5cm crust. You then fill the baguette with, well, whatever you like really. I did two versions -a veggie one and a meaty one. The veggie version contained cream cheese, rocket, cucumber and spring onions. The meaty one contained the same things but had bacon bits added.

Cream cheese is a great choice for this because it doesn’t go off – you can make these guys 2 or 3 days in advance, store them in the fridge and they still taste fine. Obviously they’re a bit nicer fresh (this is baguette after all), but they don’t suffer too badly for having been made in advance.

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Hats and Bells Children’s Party Cookbook, Hatty Stead and Annabel Waley-Cohen, pg. 44-5

September 22, 2014

Apple and cinnamon cake

Filed under: Cake — Tags: , , , — lawsonanna @ 8:15 pm

Apple and cinnamon cakeI realise it’s been a while since I’ve updated my blog. This isn’t, for a change, due to lack of baking. It’s simply due to lack of time to write about all the baking I have done! I’ll try to catch up here, but I may miss out some things by accident – my memory for all the baking I’ve done over the last month might not be the best!

I made this apple and cinnamon cake when my in-laws were visiting, so that we had something tasty to feed them. I wanted to do something simple, and had a cooking apple hanging around, so it seemed like a good choice. Whilst I’ve made plenty of apple cakes in the past, this Mary Berry version was a new one for me. The only adaptation I made to the recipe was to miss out the walnuts, as I’ve never really enjoyed nuts in my cakes.

Other than the addition of cinnamon, and the use of light muscovado sugar instead of caster sugar (although I admit that I supplemented my muscovado sugar with golden caster sugar as I ran out of the former), this is a fairly standard, easy-to-make apple cake. The difference between it and many other apple cakes that I’ve made is that you put half the cake mixture in the tin, layer the apple in the middle, and then top the cake with the other half of the cake mixture.

The whole thing works really well, and is incredibly tasty. My 2-year-old can testify to this; he’s not a great fan of most cakes, but wanted seconds of this.

Who made it: Anna
Recipe: Mary Berry’s Ultimate Cake Book, pg. 252

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